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Amanda Ruzza: This Is What Happened

Read "This Is What Happened" reviewed by Edward Blanco

Brazilian-born Amanda Ruzza began playing bass guitar when she was 12 years old, developing a mastery for the instrument, moving to New York City and, since then, playing a variety of styles of music with such groups as Global Noize and the Chris Stover's Caetano Veloso Project. This Is What Happened is the young artist's debut, ...

Michael Phillip Mossman: The Orisha Suite

Read "The Orisha Suite" reviewed by Javier AQ Ortiz

The Orisha Suite is inspired by some of the Afro-Cuban deities--or orishas--from Lucumí religious lore, with the exception of the soulful, funky, danceable and exquisite opening cut, which is dedicated to--and inspired by--the daughter of the date's leader. As such, nonetheless, the recording is a sonic interpretation of some of the theological tenets associated with this ...

Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez: Italuba

Read "Italuba" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Drummer Horacio “El Negro" Hernandez arrived in New York from his native Cuba (via Italy) and slipped into the percussion driver's seat on recordings by pianists Michael Camilo and Chucho Valdes, trumpeter Roy Hargrove and guitar legend Carlos Santana, helping those artists snag a bunch of Grammy Awards. Italuba “"the title a melding of the names ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Elio Villafranca: Incantations Encantaciones

Read "Incantations Encantaciones" reviewed by Javier AQ Ortiz

Yet another Cuban loss is Philadelphia's gain. Enter Elio Villafranca. Incantations Encantaciones, produced alongside Larry Cramer, is his sortie into winning leadership. Sorting out the pianist's musicality, brute force, effervescence, topicality, virtuostic independence (just pay attention in “You Spoke Too Soon" on this regard), patience, candor, and brazen delicacy is not that difficult. This is one ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Paquito D'Rivera with the WDR Big Band: Big Band Time

Read "Big Band Time" reviewed by Javier AQ Ortiz

Quick and to the Point: WDR’s Latin Big Band offering with D’Rivera, Roditi and others.

Big Band Time is yet another showcase for the first-rate WDR Big Band (WDR), featuring Paquito D’Rivera and Claudio Roditi. Conducted and rearranged by Bill Dobbins, the material is familiar, although its treatment isn’t. The reconceptualizations of compositions mostly ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Paquito D'Rivera with the WDR Big Band: Big Band Time

Read "Big Band Time" reviewed by Jack Bowers

This is one of those good old-fashioned power-laden big-band albums that begs the listener to crank up the volume and let 'er rip. Great songs and wonderful charts, essentially in a buoyant Latin groove, played to a fare-thee-well by Germany's superlative WDR Big Band, with electifying solos by Paquito D'Rivera, Claudio Roditi, other guest artists and ...

Paquito D'Rivera with the WDR Big Band: Big Band Time

Read "Big Band Time" reviewed by Dr. Judith Schlesinger

As much as I love the intimacy of trios, there's nothing like a big band--especially one with Latin rhythms, great charts and masterful soloists. Big Band Time has all of these, together with ample proof that D'Rivera is a fine writer as well as player (six of the ten tunes are his). The German WDR Big ...